Pregnant Workers That Face Discrimination in California

pregnant workersWorking mothers and pregnant workers face challenges that many employers struggle to understand. This is never truer than when women try to balance pregnancy with the demands of a job. If you have faced discrimination based on pregnancy, you want an experienced attorney to assist you in securing your rights, and compensation when those rights have been violated.

Common Workplace Violations Against Pregnant Workers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is dedicated to ensuring fair treatment for all workers under the law. That includes employment opportunities for women who are pregnant and who wish to continue working at their jobs, but who require temporary accommodations at their workplaces. Title VII of the Civil Rights act prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.

Unfortunately, there are still some employers who need a little push when it comes to doing what is right. Since 2011, in fact, the EEOC has filed 44 suits involving discrimination claims for women who were pregnant. The suits have revolved around a number of claims of unlawful activities related to violations that occurred during the workers’ pregnancies:

  • Refusing to hire pregnant workers, or firing workers when employers learned of pregnancy;
  • Failing to promote, or, in some cases, demoting pregnant workers;
  • Curbing employment growth opportunities by compelling pregnant workers to take involuntary leave, restricting work hours or limiting assignments;
  • Refusing accommodations for pregnant workers that would be available to other non-pregnant workers;
  • Participating in retaliation when pregnant workers and/or coworkers complained about discrimination.

Legal Protections Continue After the Pregnancy

Discrimination sometimes persists after the pregnancy, as well, when employers resist providing appropriate leave and/or accommodations for lactating employees.

The law provides protections for workers who wish to take unpaid leave in order to care for and/or bond with a newborn.  Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), workers who qualify are entitled to up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave.

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) is another option for pregnant workers who have complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. Under this provision, workers have up to four months of leave, with continued health benefits. Finally, the California Family Rights Act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for workers to bond with newborns. It is unlawful for your employer to refuse such leave, or to retaliate against you by leveraging promotions or imposing other workplace restraints on you.

Accommodations for Lactation

California labor codes require employers to provide accommodations for lactating mothers including:

  • Reasonable break times;
  • A private location other than a bathroom.

When Employers Discriminate Against Pregnant Workers

Employers who view pregnancy as an inconvenience to the daily function of business may resist obliging the needs of pregnant workers. However, regardless of their personal biases, they are legally required to accommodate these workers during and after pregnancy.

Have you have experienced workplace discrimination based on pregnancy? The law is on your side. Our experienced, aggressive team at Beck Law P.C. will pursue justice on your behalf. Contact our office today in Sonoma County, Lake County or Mendocino County for your confidential consultation.



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